Eighth-highest midnight take ever behind 'Hunger Games'

Disney-Marvel’s “The Avengers” kick started its Stateside run with $18.7 million in midnight grosses, making it the eighth-highest midnight take ever behind “The Hunger Games” ($19.7 million).

Midnight take for “Avengers” includes $1.31 million from 273 Imax runs.

Pre-weekend tracking for the Disney tentpole started in the $140 million range, with some estimates going as high as $170 million. Pic already has cumed a whopping $304 million internationally.

If midnights told the whole story, it’d be unlikely for “Avengers” to reach the highest projections. But the pic’s three-day debut will depend also on word-of-mouth throughout the weekend and whether it can broaden beyond just families and fanboys.

Either way, “Avengers” will land among fine company, with only 20 films to date having grossed more than $100 million during their opening weekend. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ holds the three-day record at $169 million, as well as the midnight bechmark ($43.5 million).

“Avengers” expands today to more than 4,300 domestic runs.

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